Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría and Michelle Falcón Fontánez at The SPark! project, Springfield (MA)

Springfield (MA)—The Springfield Museums and Springfield Cultural Partnership announce a celebration of public outdoor art created by local artists in the beautiful, newly renovated Pynchon Plaza Saturday, June 4, from 2-4 pm. In addition to opportunities to meet and talk to the artists, visitors can engage in the public space with performers and activities. On a day filled with excitement including the Springfield Pride Parade and the Seuss-iversary Kick-Off Family Event at the Museums, the celebration at Pynchon Park is a must-stop experience.

The SPark! Igniting Our Community initiative enlivens a civic engagement space with art installations by ten artists. The 2020 call open to all gave special consideration to installations that included Springfield artists, artists of color, LGBTQ+, and female artists.

The art is now in place, ready for all to see.“We are excited to witness Pynchon Park continue to expand its potential as a hub of civic engagement and community conversations,” said Karen Finn, Executive Director for the Springfield Cultural Partnership.

“We are hopeful the art in the park will entice people to stop, look, and talk about what they are experiencing.”

Public art is a reflection of how we see the world–the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are, states the Association for Public Art. Although it is set in a public realm, and often is the result of a public process involving many stakeholders, public art is subject to a variety of opinions.

“Diversity of opinion draws attention, interest, conversation, and debate—that is good!” said

Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “The Park, with its staircase to the Chestnut Street entrance to the Springfield Museums, is a tremendous gateway to further exploration of art.” All Springfield residents receive free access to the Springfield Museums. “We hope many people will stop in to meet the artists on Saturday and enjoy the dynamic performances and exciting activities, including talking with the artists,” said Finn.

The artists include

• Ryan Murray, c/o Rosemary Tracy Woods’s Art for the Soul Gallery, Springfield,

MA,“One People,” fence art

• Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría owner of Galeria L'Alvilda Artes Plásticas y Artes Urbanas desde Guayama Puerto Rico, and Michelle Falcón Fontánez owner of Falcón Fontánez Foto, Mosaic, “El Litoral”.

Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría, was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico and has a Master’s of Science in Economic Development, from Southern University of New Hampshire. She is a writer, poet, scholar, performer, muralist and installation artist. In her quest to incorporate Urban Planning and Development, she collaborated with architects to design and paint murals and has also worked with museums to build Art History and Economic Development Architectural Installations and museographs and Architectural Murals, one in Springfield and another in Guayama, Puerto Rico, her birth place. Her poetry has been published in several newspapers in North America and Latin America.

Michelle Falcón Fontánez, is an award winning storyteller working in photography, film, theater and installation art. Michelle has witnessed and personally experienced injustices that have shaped her views of the world, motivating her pursuit of making change through art. Her artistry has primarily focused on social issues, where she has created work to illuminate voices that have not been heard. Michelle’s early work, a women’s focused documentary on the impacts of the economic crisis of Puerto Rico before Hurricane María, has expanded her advocacy on Puerto Rico, establishing a group that supports entrepreneurship on the island through a yearly arts fundraiser.

• Roberley Bell, Social seating for Pynchon Plaza

• Jeffrey Lara, Springfield, MA, of Studio Stoneyhill "Our Presence at Dawn," sculpture

• Beth Crawford, Yellowdog, Northampton, MA, "Duryea Redux," sculpture

• Lauren Celini, Blur Street Art, Portals, Paintings

• Christopher Peck and Sheldon Smith, Make-It Springfield, Springfield, MA, "Free Little

Library Box"

• Common Wealth Mural & Good Space Mural, "Home, Here"

• Pipe Drum & Frame Chime, Sound Sculpture

Performers include:

• Serendipity Stilt Dancers

• Rachel Clemente playing harp, from the Community Music School of Springfield

• Matthew Holmes on the keyboard, from the Community Music School of Springfield

• Urban Wizard’s Academy’s Scotty Swan

This day of celebration will also include videography by GRNSX Studio, a Latino-owned, local business, and design by Chris Seabrooks Graphic Design. The Springfield Public Library will supply the Free Little Library boxes with books.

“Collaboration and engagement has defined SPark! from day one,” said Finn. “We are deeply grateful to all who have contributed their time and talent and funds.”

Spark! was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, administered by the Springfield Museums in cooperation with the Springfield Cultural Partnership. Funding was also provided by the City of Springfield Community Development Block Grant.